Well, here we are a day late with posting this but when you get to the end you’ll see why. I am currently sat wondering why I am not at home with my feet up and begging for someone, anyone to take care of me by pampering me. I am in as much pain as I was after my first marathon. I took two days off work after that and had an ex girlfriend taking care of me. Now … well, now I’m just expected to get on with it and sod being taken care of! How very rude. How did we get to this point … read on ….
Monday – Oh my god! I swear Eddie is punishing me for the fact I have to do most weekday stuff in the gym. This one was so intricate the instructions even said to “….. and write this down on a sticky note and put on the treadmill” I think what she meant to say is ” …. you’re so bloody forgetful you’ll never keep track of this as it’s on a par with something Rainman would write” Seriously … look at this
w/u 0.5, 1m @10mm, e 0.5, firstname.lastname@example.org, e 0.5, email@example.com, e 0.25, firstname.lastname@example.org, e 0.25, email@example.com, c/d 0.5
Told you … it’s like reading a science problem in school …. I was shit at that too! I did cause great amusement to the guy next to me on the treadmills. The same guy who could have gotten on any one of the other 25 vacant ones I’d like to add. I’m hoping my language has now convinced him I’m not the kind of girl he wants in his life. Anyway, I got it done but might be banned from the gym.
Tuesday – Rest day and I am such a good girl that I did as I was told. Ha! Like there was any chance of me doing anything other than work and sleep. Tuesdays are my longest day on site.
Wednesday – This one was not so tough to follow on the treadmill. A nice warm up and then gradual increase of speed to then hold on for 20 minutes at a set pace where I was to be “huffing and puffing” and then a nice 10 minute cool down. Treadmill man was with me again and made a point of going just a tad faster than me. Idiot.
Thursday – Oh my god, oh my god, stop the presses … I got outside for a run DURING THE WEEK !!!! I was on night shift for Thursday (and Friday) so set the scene by leaving my work stuff at work on the Wednesday so I could just simply run in. It was fabulous. I skipped along like Heidi in the hills … or maybe more like Oliver in the sewer ridden streets of London but all the same … I was outside!!
Friday – Rest day which was good as I pretty much slept all day and then back into work at 4pm for 12 hours.
Saturday and Sunday – The runs for this weekend ended up getting combined. Was meant to be a 6 mile timed pace run on Saturday and a 3 hour run on Sunday for about 15 miles. I ended up though planning a night run with Jacqui on the Ridgeway.
So there I am at 11pm on Saturday night in my running kit at Paddington train station. I stood out like a sore thumb with all the late night drunks so I felt a bit better when Jacqui got there so we could look like nutters together. The train journey to Reading was uneventful and we didn’t glare too much at the charming couple who chose to sit with us. Honest. Get to Reading and finding the bus to Goring was much like looking for the proverbial bloody needle. The cute policewoman who tried to help me was no longer so cute after she sent us on a wild goose chase for 10 minutes. I am a little ashamed to say we ended up in a Taxi to Goring with a suicidal rally driver. I actually ended up telling him to stop playing with his Satnav while driving and that I would tell him where to go. Not sure he was too impressed with me at that point and I’m sure he then started driving even faster! When we finally got the trail head he started asking what house we were going to so Jacqui tells him we’re meeting friends just up the road. Getting murdered by the lunatic driver was not on her schedule.
I could give you a mile by mile breakdown but I am sure that would bore you guys as much as it would tax my brain. I can say that after 5 miles I realised that my shoe choice of Inov8 Rocklites 295 was the WRONG choice. The Ridgeway path was hard packed chalk or path the entire way. It was like running barefoot. I was in severe pain. I am not a minimalist runner and do not care to get into the pros and cons discussion. My feet need padding – they are domesticated feet!! I was quite annoyed with myself as I wore these for my last Lakeland recce and they were great but then in fairness there was lots of wet rock and bog on that one. I can honestly say that for the first time I wanted to cry on a run but I was not going to put Jacqui through that as there was absolutely nothing that could be done. We were in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night … moving forward was all we could do. So we jogged the flats and downs and marched the ups. There were some amusing moments such as when we came across a car that seemed to be following us so we then scared the crap out of ourselves by imaging all kinds of scenarios. My solution was “Turn your head torch off and get in the ditch”. Not my best line ever but the intention was there. In the end we didn’t need to ditch dive but we have since found out that some not very nice characters frequent that section of the trail at night and to be honest had we known this prior I’m sure we would have missed that section. We seemed to make good time through the night and while the sunrise was behind us we did get to enjoy it while glancing backwards occasionally. Jacqui has requested though that the National Trails Association remove all the scraggly bushes out of her line of sight as they ruined many a good picture opportunity for her.
When we got to White Horse Hill I was glad for the sign and hugged it. Not for any picture opportunity but because I actually just wanted to lay down. It appeared we were ahead of schedule despite my now crippled feet and we detoured across to see the said horse. I quite like history both ancient and modern so I loved this as in the field there’s also the obvious formation of an old stronghold with moat etc. Loved it. I also note there seems to be a tradition forming here of Jacqui showing me stuff from the wrong angle. I saw the chalk man (you know, the penis one) from above and now the horse … so I really have no idea if this actually what we were seeing as you can’t tell from above. It might just be a big massive bit of chalk graffiti on a hillside and nothing else. Actually, I guess that’s what it is anyway isn’t it? When we were leaving the field a farmer came along with his tractor and I waved at him. He didn’t wave back. I waved again. I know he saw me as we made eye contact. He still ignored me. We imagined that in his head he was screaming “Gerrroffff my land!!!”
I got to see a bit more history further along as we came to Waylands Smithy. Now I was expecting this to be something to do with horses and blacksmithing etc. Oh no. .. it’s an ancient mass grave basically. Again, my love of history probably overrode any morbid thoughts here and we were both very quiet and in our own little worlds in here. It really was quite lovely to see and so quiet with just the birds tweeting. It was funny when leaving though. As soon as were through the gate Jacqui had a good swear about something or other but stated that she had to wait until she had left the Smithy to do so. Love that!
The last 10 miles really were a battle and to be honest I don’t know how Jacqui put up with my slow pace of shuffle/walk. When we got to the last stretch even she was done and was swearing at every single car that passed us. Nobody wants to do 3 miles on road at that point! When we got to Ogbourne St George we weren’t sure where the bus stop was and there were no shops. Not just ‘no shops open’ but simply NO SHOPS. Jacqui popped into a pub that had been converted to a B&B to ask if they knew where the bus stop was. I sat down on the steps outside. 2 minutes later she pops her head out the door and says … “They’ll sell us beer”. This ladies and gents is why I run with Jacqui! 33 painful miles all cured by a pint at the end.
I got home about 2.30pm and was in bed asleep by 4pm hence the day late on this report. My feet are still on fire and getting shoes on this morning was interesting. Thank god today is a rest day.
See you next week where I’m hoping to bring good news on a marathon time.